Letters for June 19, 2003

Optical transfusion

Re “The paper chase” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, June 5):

It seems odd to me that the best system, better than punch cards and touch-screen computer voting, is the one Sacramento County considers temporary: optical scan.

The voter fills in the bubbles and feeds the paper into one machine per polling place, and then the machine instantaneously counts the ballot and keeps the paper. It’s simple, quick and inexpensive and stores a paper copy for recounts or machine breakdowns.

No chads, no computers, a paper trail, a clear visual record for voters to double-check before they turn it in, no laborious counting. Full results are sent to the county registrar the moment the polls are closed.

Why are counties looking for something besides optical-scan voting?

Randy McClure

By golly, Kucinich supporters have hope …

Re “Kucinich reloaded” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Essay, June 5):

I’m mad as hell at defeatist attitudes such as Melinda Welsh’s in her otherwise very positive essay about Dennis Kucinich’s bid for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

First, I’d like to remind Ms. Welsh of Harry Truman, whom Kucinich reminds me of with his daring and tenacity. Forecast to doom by the pundits of those times, “Give ’em Hell Harry” conducted an exhausting whistle-stop campaign tour of the country in the final days of that election, stopping to speak from the back of the train in every town big enough to merit a whistle and a stop. The picture of a triumphant Truman holding up the Chicago Tribune with its smugly pre-written headline, “Dewey wins!” is an unforgettable tribute to both enduring hope and sheer guts.

Next, I’d like to remind Ms. Welsh that if she believes that Kucinich is indeed a welcome breath of fresh air in a time of murky smog, then she sure doesn’t do him any favor by announcing, wrongly, that he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the nomination. I’m sick of that too-prevalent attitude among discouraged voters, and I denounce it where I see it these days.

Kucinich does stand a chance, and a good one, if people like Ms. Welsh will stop joining the major media, who are intent upon marginalizing him.

We little folk, like the folks who went down to listen to Harry at his whistle stops, can put Kucinich over the top. And, good gosh and golly, is he sorely needed up there.

Bob Locke

… work to make change happen …

Re “Kucinich reloaded” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Essay, June 5):

What a disappointment that Melinda Welsh didn’t get Dennis Kucinich’s message—at least, not really. She tells us how he quite rightly admonished her cynicism.

Surely Ms. Welsh does understand that, in order for there to be a change, people need to be willing to hold the vision of change, to be open to the possibility of change and, most of all, to guard against ever giving up the fight for change. People like Dennis Kucinich have the guts and strength to get out there and fight for us, and that is worthy of our gratitude and respect, as well as our support.

Perhaps Ms. Welsh intends to support the GOP. But Ms. Welsh, if you’re a Democrat, this is not the time to assume the outcome of the next election. How do you know Dennis Kucinich will “not be president in 2004”? Just what are you doing to make change happen, anyway?

Sue Jacoby

… believe change will come …

Re “Kucinich reloaded” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Essay, June 5):

Though I appreciated Melinda Welsh’s well-written essay on Dennis Kucinich’s visit, I did not as much appreciate her defeatist attitude, which she included in her commentary as if it was reality itself instead of only her reality.

As Kucinich noted, it’s such a self-fulfilling prophecy. The reason things stay the same is because people believe so and write things like that.

His points reminded me of lines in Jodie’s Body, by Aviva Jane Carlin, about how those few who held up the structure of apartheid in South Africa, which was like a huge giant eagle in the sky with its talons embedded in the land, never ever thought it would fall. But fall it did.

S. Goodrich

… and won’t vote for a media favorite

Re “Kucinich reloaded” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Essay, June 5):

While it is refreshing to read an article about this outstanding candidate for president, it is also distressing to have a journalist surmise that Congressman [Dennis] Kucinich does not have a chance of being elected president.

I live in Southern California and am actively involved in politics. The majority of the hundreds of people with whom I interact feel he is the only Democratic candidate who is addressing the views of the majority.

I hope that Ms. Welsh and other “journalists” will be objective and will not use the media to try to sway the uninformed public to vote for a media choice.

B. Hayden
via e-mail

Jackie’s oh so fresh

Re “Greene’s just right” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, May 29):

After reading Christian Kiefer’s review of Jackie Greene, it’s clear that Kiefer’s just wrong.

As an avid follower of Jackie Greene, I can tell you that he is anything but your run-of-the-mill local musician. Perhaps that is why Mr. Kiefer did such a poor job of capturing the essence of Jackie. Could it be that a frustrated local artist can’t bring himself to admit that this 22-year-old kid is headed for stardom?

I was certainly interested in reading Mr. Kiefer’s article, which initially seemed to portray Jackie in a positive light. However, the last few paragraphs weren’t quite positive or negative. It’s as if Mr. Kiefer wanted to leave the reader with the notion that Jackie is good, but nothing to get excited about. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Everything about Jackie Greene is fresh and remarkable, and I think if Mr. Kiefer came to more shows, he would know why. It’s the fact that audiences can’t get enough of him. His fan base is solid, and they keep coming back, week after week, to witness his brilliance. This is one of the most surprising things about Jackie’s music: the level of devotion from his fans.

I agree with Mr. Kiefer on one point: Yes, Jackie is giving the audience what they want, night after night.

What they want is Jackie.

Laurie Symcak

Three-strikes is out

Re “Correct this!” (SN&R Editorial, May 29):

Please tell us one thing: Why is it that we could save millions and millions on the budget just by releasing many of these men who deserve to be let out of prison but are incarcerated under that damned three-strikes law?

The cost per inmate is staggering. Yet prisons like Donovan are putting up new sliding doors to fit their taste. It is not a matter of need or urgency, but the administrators say it is needed.

The prison industry is a joke and so full of lies about not having money. Yet, prisons are also continually changing the programs. They ignore medical problems and cut inmate visits, yet they spend monies on something as small as sliding doors.

Barbra Williams